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Guatemala’s rainforest is expanding thanks to community efforts

The forests of the Maya Biosphere Reserve are growing rather than shrinking, because of a community-led conservation programme

Environment 26 September 2022

Tikal National Park - part of the Maya Forest in Guatemala

Tikal National Park is part of the Maya Forest in Guatemala

Mariana Diaz/WCS

A community-led conservation programme in Guatemala has halted and started to reverse two decades of deforestation in an area that was severely threatened by the land grabs of cattle ranchers and drug traffickers.

Life is now returning to swathes of the Maya Biosphere Reserve that were illegally cleared 13 years ago. Regeneration of the forest means it was 25 square kilometres larger in 2020 than in 2019 and grew another 3.5 square kilometres in 2021. What were uniform pastures …